Grade: Elementary

#1965. Treasures and Fingerprints

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Sep 23 14:19:48 PDT 2000 by Lynne Maragliano (
Roxboro Elementary, Cuyahoga County
Materials Required: mirror, 'treasure bag", treasure boxes for each child in your class
Activity Time: 1-2 weeks
Concepts Taught: Fingerprints, getting to know the people in your school and community

Day 1- Decorate treasure boxes. Children will take home and fill them with small objects like jewelry pieces, rocks, nuts, barrettes, etc.
Day 2-5 Children sort, classify, compare, and
graph or record what they have brought.
Day 6- A mystery person leaves a "treasure" (I use a mirror) in a bag and leaves it near the class treasure boxes. The class brainstorms a way to figure out who did it.
Day 7- A walking tour is conducted throughout the building asking staff if they know who put the treasure in our room. Each answers either responses like "It wasn't me" or uncommitting answers like "That's interesting!"
Day 8- The class records in drwawing who they think the person might be. This really gets the kids knowing the names of all on staff. Discussion ensues on how to figure out this mystery. Usually someone suggest a police officer.
Day 9-10 Our local safety town officer arrives with a fingerprinting kit. He takes talks with the children about fingerprints being unique, patterns, etc. He takes prints of several on staff. He takes a print from the mirror and matches it with the children to the person who left a treasure. The case is solved! It was the principal trying to do something nice for us.